2021 La Marea by Ian Brand, Albariño “Alternate Cut” Kristy Vineyard, Monterey County.
The latest Albariño from Ian Brand, under his Spanish inspired La Marea series, is the “Alt Cut” version that saw a short skin contact and fast maceration before fermentation that adds to the complexity, dimension and texture here in a fresh and salty dry white wine that is perfect for these warm Summer days. The 2021 is bright and vigorous with a light golden color in the glass and is stony on the lighter framed palate that delivers a ton of racy citrus, tart apple and apricot fruit along with a steely core of minerallity, hints of white flowers, saline and wet flint. Just about two barrels of this Albariño “Alternate Cut” were made and it is limited to tasting room sales, such is the popularity of Brand’s Albariño that the regular bottling is already sold out, so if you are a fan of this grape you’ll have move fast to get any of this one. The Alt Cut is delicious with almost anything and in particular it goes great when paired with fresh local sea foods and or soft farm cheeses.

Ian Brand, who was winemaker of the year in the San Francisco Chronicle in 2018 and a vineyard whisperer, sources his Albariño from the Kristy Vineyard, which sits within a western bench over the Salinas River, that Ian says, atop a fan of broken siliceous/calcareous sediments that gives his wines a terroir influenced character, with vines that bask in the warm California sunshine and receive cool coastal breezes, retaining brisk acidity. Brand’s collection of interesting whites is not limited to his La Marea Albariño(s), he has a beautifully smooth Ramato (Skin Contact Pinot Gris), a rare Arneis, a grape from the Piedmonte region of Italy and his Chalone Melon de Bourgogne, once called Pinot Blanc, coming from this historic region’s noteworthy chalky soils. All of which are beautifully made and are well worth chasing down, along with the range of red wines, especially Brand’s Cab Franc and Grenache offerings. I even got a sneak peek of Ian’s upcoming 2021 Paysan P’tit Pape Rhone (Chateauneuf) blend, which will sell for about $25, but tastes like a $50 wine! There’s a lot of tasty stuff here and I recommend grabbing a bottle or two as soon as possible!
($28 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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